Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity


Roger M. Hendricks, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

On December 25, millions of people will celebrate what they believe to be the birthday of our Lord Jesus Christ. I am sure that it would be surprising to learn just how many people actually believe that the Bible teaches that Jesus was born on what is commonly referred to as "Christmas Day." The Bible, however, is as silent as a tomb as to the birth date of the Master.

"Christmas" Of Roman Catholic Origin

I believe that it is quite interesting to notice some of the statements about "Christmas" found in the Encyclopedia Americana: "The name is derived from the medieval Christes Masse, the Mass of Christ. The celebration was not observed in the first centuries of the Christian church . . . In the 5th century the Western church ordered the feast to be celebrated on the day of the Mithraic rites of the birth of the sun . . . as no certain knowledge of the day of Christ's birth existed. . . . Most of the customs now associated with Christmas were not originally Christmas customs but rather were pre-Christian and non-Christian customs . . ."

One cannot deny the influence of Roman Catholicism in handing down the idea of December 25 as being the birthday of our Lord. The name itself (Christ mass) is proof enough of this fact. Also remember "Jolly Old Saint Nicholas"! "Saint Nicholas" was a Catholic saint. Parents who teach their children to honor "Santa Claus," teach them to honor this Catholic "saint." "Santa Claus . . . corruption of St. Nicholas ..." (Enc. Amer.)

Judaism And "Christmas"

"Christmas" seems to have been influenced by Judaism, also. The Jews kept many special or "holy" days in a religious manner. Many Jewish Christians tried to carry the rite of observing days over into the church. Such was condemned!

Influence Of Paganism

"Christmas" has been influenced, also, by paganism and superstition. Such customs as "Christmas trees," "yule logs," mistletoe," "holly," and others came from either superstitions or pagan practices.

Christ In "Christmas"

Sectarian preachers have been pleading with folk for years to "put Christ back into Christmas." The claim is made that "Christmas" has become so commercialized that Jesus is forgotten on his own "birthday." We need to realize that the name of Christ should never have been associated with December 25 to begin with. No one knows the day of his birth. Furthermore, the birth date of Jesus is unimportant.

The Bible stresses the death of Christ rather than his birth. Christians are to commemorate the death of the Savior each Lord's Day (Sunday). (I Cor. 11:24,26; Acts 20:7.)

If God had willed that humanity celebrate the birthday of his Son, surely he would have made known not only the date of his birth but, also, the fact that we should very highly regard the same. Yet the Bible is silent regarding both. Neither Christ, the apostles, nor any other inspired teacher taught that the birthday of Jesus should be observed. Since in all religious matters we must abide in the doctrine of Christ (2 Jno. 9), and must have authority for that which we do (Col. 3:17), we must conclude that to observe "Christmas" as a religious "holy day" is highly improper.

The Bible knows nothing of "Lent," "Easter," "Ash Wednesday," "Good Friday," nor "Christmas." (The term "Easter" in Acts 12:4 is a mistranslation and should read "the Passover." It does so read in some versions.) To set aside any of these days as religious "holy days" is to do the same in vain. Paul declared, "Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain." (Gal. 4:10,11.)

As a national holiday, a day for family or friendly "get-togethers," a day for giving presents and such like, I know of no valid objection to offer. But to celebrate in a religious manner a "Christ Mass" or the birth of Jesus is altogether improper.

A Final Word

A final word of caution is in order just here. Though I see nothing wrong in giving and receiving gifts during this season (or any other season), yet by so doing we can act in such a way as to be displeasing in the sight of God and be guilty of sin. For example, one can "rob God" in order to buy gifts for friends and loved ones. Remember, always, that God is to be placed first in the lives of Christians. Those who do not give as they should during the month of December because of buying presents commit sin.